Derval O'Rourke's fit foodie: Beans on toast, apple and cheese stacks, almond crusted chicken strips

Derval O’Rourke is keeping it simple with this week’s recipes

Derval O'Rourke's fit foodie: Beans on toast, apple and cheese stacks, almond crusted chicken strips

Here we are in December. I have a new appreciation for the month of December.

In my previous career as a runner, it was a hard month. It was full of really tough training sessions and a strict regime to get ready to race in January.

Now I like to take in the festive atmosphere and really enjoy December.

I’ve just started my Christmas shopping and this week I’ve written about a few gift ideas for all the fit foodies in your lives.

Before the full festive eating kicks in, I’m keeping it simple with this week’s recipes.

Beans on Toast

This is a classic but a goodie. Try to make these beans in a big batch and any leftovers can be reheated up to a few days afterwards. I like to make my beans spicy but if you don’t like a little heat leave out the chilli!

This is a handy midweek recipe if you don’t have time to make a big dinner but want to eat something healthy and tasty.

Serves 3 good sized portions

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


2 tbsp Olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp paprika

½ chilli, finely chopped

6 thin slices of spicy chorizo (optional)

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

400g tin of mixed beans, drained

Salt and pepper to season

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Lower the heat and add the garlic, paprika, chilli and chorizo, cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste. Ladle onto a warm serving plate and serve with a slice of brown bread toast.

A Simple Snack: Apple and Cheese Stacks

I really find snacking one of the hardest parts of eating well.

I’m always on the hunt for quick and easy ways to snack. This is one of my afternoon go-to snacks.

It’s simple and tasty.

Serves 1

Prep time: 1 minute

2 Oat cakes

25g Strong white cheddar

½ apple, finely sliced

Place the oat cakes on a small plate.

Layer the oat cakes with alternate slices of cheddar cheese and the apple slices until all the ingredients are used up.

Almond Crusted Chicken Strips

I’m always trying out new ingredients and playing around with whatever is in the cupboard. These chicken strips were born out of that. I had loads and loads of ground almond and I was trying to find a nice way to use it up. I stumbled upon this version of chicken goujons and they were a revelation!

These are a massively popular option in my house for dinner. They go great with vegetables and a baked potato.

An additional bonus is that my one-year old daughter Dafne absolutely loves them. So for those of you cooking for smallies this is a great choice.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (longer if you have time to marinade the chicken)

Cook time: 25 minutes

4 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

3 tbsp mixed dried herbs

a pinch salt

4 free range chicken fillets, cut into strips

120g ground almonds

Mix the soy sauce, olive oil, honey dried herbs and salt in a big bowl. Add the chicken and use your hands to mix the marinade into the meat.

If time allows cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour. If not don’t worry!

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Spread the almonds out on a plate. Roll each chicken strip in the almonds. Place the coated chicken on an ovenproof dish.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until each chicken strip is cooked through..


Christmas gift ideas for Fit Foodies

Now that December is upon us it’s time to get thinking about Christmas gift ideas.

This week I will give you a few ideas for the fit foodies in your lives.

1. A Wyldsson Secret Santa Box

Wyldsson is a great Irish food company. It’s one of my favourite places to shop for online food products. They use only 100% natural ingredients and make amazing snack mixes. If you look closely at the world of professional sport you will see wyldsson products popping up on your TV screen. Rory McIlroy has been spotted snacking on their trail mix during golf tournaments. Cost: €10

2. 3FE Christmas Tasting Subscription

I’m a big coffee fan and I love to make a nice cup of coffee at home. 3FE (short for third floor espresso) is the coffee business started by Colin

Harmon. They have beautiful coffee blends. The subscription is a fresh bag of coffee delivered to the door on Christmas week, the receiver

will then be sent a monthly bag of coffee to their address for the remainder of the subscription.

Cost: €65 for six months

3. A FitBit

I love my wristband that tracks my daily activity. If your loved one will be heading into January on a health kick this is a great way to help them. There are some great competitors on the market to the fitbit, the charger is my wristband of choice. Cost: €100 upwards

4. Believe I am Training Journal

This is a great buy for anyone who wants to track their training and is looking for a little motivation to get out the door. It is the creation of Irish

International runner Roisin McGettigan and US runner Lauren Fleshman. If you are shopping for someone who will be looking for inspiration to stick to their fitness goals in 2017 this is a fantastic buy.

Cost: €20

5. As Bold As

This is a great Irish start-up company that specialises in bike clothing that looks great on and off the bike. I have one of their coats and I wear it all the time. They offer clothing from roadster jackets to bright vests. My pick would be to buy someone a vest from As Bold As. Cost: €55


I really enjoy the @BelievePHQ twitter account. They send out tweets about sports psychology and they have lots of useful tips and strategies. They are particularly great on tips for children in sport and their graphics are excellent.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up